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Links 11/8/2014: DEFT 8.2, Linux Mint on Debian Stable

Posted in News Roundup at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Still Does Not Run Properly Under Weston, Wayland’s Reference Compositor

        For now, the Gecko layout engine which is Firefox based on, has been made to work with Weston, the Wayland official reference compositor, but the keyboard input has been broken and the decorations are not displayed well, but the process is in its early stages.

      • Dogfooding: Flame on Nightly

        Just about two weeks ago, I got a Flame and have decided to use it as my primary phone and put away my Nexus 5. I’m running Firefox OS Nightly on it and so far have not run into any bugs so critical that I have needed to go back to Android.

        I have however found some bugs and have some thoughts on things that need improvement to make the Firefox OS experience even better.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice moves up to 4.3 – today, you can’t own a better Office Suite

      Two versions of LibreOffice were released in quick succession. You’ll find the latest iteration of the successful 4.2 series announced here, but slightly ahead of that 4.2.6 release, there was also the bump to a new development cycle. I was on a field trip to the US at the time of the 4.3.0 release announcement and was unable to devote time to updating the SlackBuild script and provide packages earlier than today.


  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • For The Love Of Open Mapping Data

        It’s been exactly ten years since the launch of OpenStreetMap, the largest crowd-sourced mapping project on the Internet. The project was founded by Steve Coast when he was still a student.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Open Source Farming: A Renaissance Man Tackles the Food Crisis

      Given Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) and our dwindling capacities for producing enough healthy food, a cutting-edge farming technique of a design engineer in Port Townsend, Washington, dramatically increasing produce yield, may well already be filling a critical void.


      The corporate answer to the food crisis has been to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to expand crop sizes and yields. The outcomes and implications of this, however, continue to prove detrimental to both the environment and human health.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Former US Intelligence Officers rubbish current ‘intelligence’ regime [reposted as new]

      Several former US intelligence officers with a cumulative total of 260 years in various parts of US Intelligence recently wrote to President Barack Obama, expressing concern over ‘evidence adduced so far to blame Russia for the July 17 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17’.

    • Obama: U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq a ‘long-term project’

      The United States expanded its Iraq air campaign over the weekend to beat back Islamist militants determined to kill members of a religious minority.

      Fighter jets and drones struck ISIS fighters firing on ethnic Yazidis near the northern town of Sinjar, where extremists had driven tens of thousands fleeing into nearby mountains.

    • US pounds IS targets in Iraq with drones and jets

      US forces launched a second wave of air strikes against Islamic extremists near Arbil in northern Iraq on Friday, destroying a militant convoy and killing a mortar team, the Pentagon said.

    • Obama’s Irrelevant Air Strikes
    • Obama: Return to Iraq ‘a long-term project’
    • Obama says Iraq is going to be a ‘long-term project’
    • Commentary: Seek potential for peace

      And since when has the U.S. advocated weapons non-proliferation? As the world’s No. 1 weapons salesman, with one-third of its foreign aid budget often military aid, the U.S. has equipped dictators with weapons to slaughter thousands. If supplying weapons is evil, shouldn’t it be consistently condemned? Consider school shootings. Does Obama blame the nation that supplied the guns?

    • Deadly Clashes With Police Erupt at Pakistan Protests

      The clashes deepened the sense of crisis surrounding Mr. Sharif’s government, whose power has already been undermined by a troubled relationship with the country’s military leadership. The prime minister now faces the prospect of a series of major streets protests led by Mr. Qadri and, more substantively, his rival in the opposition, Imran Khan.

    • The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam

      The greatest mystery—or better said, mystification—to be overcome is the apparent contradiction between America’s proclaimed principles and the intensity of its covert operations practices. Philip Agee once called the CIA, “capitalism’s invisible army”. He recalled that one of his first tasks as a junior CIA officer had been to conduct background checks on Venezuelan applicants for jobs at the local subsidiary of a major US oil company.9 In fact, his conclusion after quitting the “Company” was that capitalism could never be maintained without an extensive military and secret police force to suppress opposition to it.

    • Kenya: What African Leaders Could Learn From America

      Indeed, numerous studies and books have shown that the American government, or CIA to be precise, has been behind some of the major coups in Africa as in the rest of the developing world. The CIA for example, is believed to be behind the overthrow of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah as well as the assassination of DR Congo’s Patrice Lumumba.

    • Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima’

      Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.

  • Finance

    • David Miliband: ‘I want Ed to succeed. I’m sure he feels the same about me’

      He looks exactly the same. Navy blue suit, crisp white shirt and reddish tie. Lego-like cropped black hair, with a dash of white at the fringe. But these days, 3,000 miles away from the grand corridors of Whitehall through which he once strode, David Miliband navigates the cramped 12th floor of an office tower in midtown Manhattan.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Ted Nugent Repaid The Newspaper That Hosted His Concert

      After the Toledo Blade received months of criticism for reluctantly hosting National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent at their food and music festival, the conservative commentator repaid the Ohio paper by declaring that “So as long as you know the Toledo Blade hates you, you’re a good American.”

      Nugent has been a source of virulently racist, sexist, and homophobic commentary for years, but his January declaration that President Obama is a “subhuman mongrel” has triggered a wave of cancellations and protests of his concerts.

  • Censorship

    • Porn Stars Want to Know: Why Did Facebook Delete Me?

      The social network isn’t impressed. Maybe it’s the shock of seeing your bubble butt popping out of skimpy bikini. Or maybe it’s just because you’re a porn star.

    • icanhazip.com blocked by Websense

      Here’s what I know:

      The application that serves up the icanhazip services is not compromised
      The virtual machine on which the application resides is not compromised
      The application is returning valid data with no evidence of serving malware

    • City Of London Police Arrest Creator Of Anti-Censorship Proxy Service Based On Hollywood’s Say So

      We’ve been covering the extreme and misinformed attempts by the City of London Police to become Hollywood’s personal police force online (despite only having jurisdiction for the one square mile known as the City of London). As we’ve noted, the City of London Police don’t seem to understand internet technology at all, nor do they have any jurisdiction to pull down websites. Yet, despite the total lack of a court order, many clueless registrars see letterhead from a police department and assume everything must be legit, even though this completely violates ICANN policy for domain registrars. Much of this is done in “partnership” with legacy players from the industry, who the police seem to listen to without any skepticism at all. It would be like the NYPD giving control of banking fraud investigations to Goldman Sachs.

  • Privacy

    • Father of PGP encryption: Telcos need to get out of bed with governments

      Phil Zimmermann, the creator of Pretty Good Privacy public-key encryption, has some experience when it comes to the politics of crypto. During the “crypto wars” of the 1990s, Zimmermann fought to convince the US government to stop classifying PGP as a “munition” and shut down the Clipper Chip program—an effort to create a government-mandated encryption processor that would have given the NSA a back door into all encrypted electronic communication. Now Zimmermann and the company he co-founded are working to convince telecommunications companies—mostly overseas—that it’s time to end their nearly century-long cozy relationship with governments.

    • U.S. intel officials see no proof — yet — that Snowden leaks are behind Chinese & Russian crackdowns

      American intelligence officials lack evidence that leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden are behind the Russian and Chinese governments’ heavy crackdowns on U.S. tech giants.

      A former high-ranking American intelligence official told VentureBeat late Thursday that U.S. intelligence believes the Snowden leaks — regarding the infiltration of Microsoft, Yahoo, and others by the NSA — are behind the Russian and Chinese backlash. But, the source said, plenty of questions remained unanswered — and so far there’s no proof of a connection.

    • Are Bitcoin And BitTorrent Good For Society?
    • Visit the Wrong Website, and the FBI Could End Up in Your Computer

      Security experts call it a “drive-by download”: a hacker infiltrates a high-traffic website and then subverts it to deliver malware to every single visitor. It’s one of the most powerful tools in the black hat arsenal, capable of delivering thousands of fresh victims into a hackers’ clutches within minutes.

      Now the technique is being adopted by a different kind of a hacker—the kind with a badge. For the last two years, the FBI has been quietly experimenting with drive-by hacks as a solution to one of law enforcement’s knottiest Internet problems: how to identify and prosecute users of criminal websites hiding behind the powerful Tor anonymity system.

    • Leaked docs show spyware used to snoop on US computers

      The leaked files contain more than 40 gigabytes of confidential technical material, including software code, internal memos, strategy reports, and user guides on how to use Gamma Group software suite called FinFisher. FinFisher enables customers to monitor secure Web traffic, Skype calls, webcams, and personal files. It is installed as malware on targets’ computers and cell phones.

    • Phone number now must for new email ids: Gmail, Yahoo

      Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), on the other hand, believe the move could conflict with privacy of an individual. Also, there is no regulatory requirement for making phone number must for having an email address.

    • Australia’s Attorney General Says Metadata Collection Won’t Track Your Web Surfing, Just The Web Addresses You Visit (Huh?)

      Australian Attorney General George Brandis seems to be working extra hard to demonstrate just how completely clueless he really is. On both copyright and surveillance, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t even remotely understand the details, but is willing to go all in to support some misleading claims that someone told him. On the surveillance front, he recently claimed (incorrectly) that data retention rules are a must (and that whistleblowers should be thrown in prison).

    • Former Top FISA Judge Insists USA Freedom Act Is Dangerous Because It Might Mean FISA Court Can’t Rubberstamp So Fast
    • Mark Dubois: Paying Lip Service To Confidentiality And Privilege

      I was thinking of this cavalier attitude towards the issues of confidentiality and privilege when I read that the National Security Agency or one of its cooperating partners had listened in on private attorney-client communications between a law firm and a foreign client.

    • Changing the conversation about Privacy, Surveillance, and Pushing SSL

      Yesterday at DEF CON we had the chance to listen to Christopher Soghoian, Principal Technologist, American Civil Liberties Union talk about the state of the surveillance state and how we can help fight against it. Of course you might think that his talk would be about the use of spy proof technologies, but oddly enough very little of that was talked about except to make it clear that talk of spy-proof technology makes people in Washington nervous.

    • DEF CON attendees get tips on how to detect, escape surveillance

      Since Edward Snowden helped reveal wide-scale government snooping programs, the conspiracy-oriented elements of the cyber-security community have become a little more emboldened.

    • The NSA Secretly Tried To Delete Part Of A Courtroom Transcript It Deemed Classified
    • Op-Ed: Using Facebook ‘Likes’ to predict personality can be dangerous

      Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act, so said George Orwell, author of “1984.”

  • Civil Rights

    • The CIA says it spied on Congress, so shouldn’t that be a big deal?
    • Worse than Watergate?

      In a world where political hyperbole has become so prevalent that it has for the most part lost the ability to impact an audience, it’s easy to routinely dismiss things like the commonly tossed-around Watergate comparisons that abound in political media. Indeed, it’s practically newsroom SOP to affix a gate suffix to any scandal big enough to make the evening broadcast – Lewinsky-gate, Benghazi-Gate, Bridge-gate, etc.

    • Why did Obama stand behind CIA chief?
    • The untransparent CIA
    • Editorial: CIA running amok

      Since 2008 the Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating the interrogation procedures the CIA used on terrorist suspects. It produced a 6,000-page report plus a 700-page summary. In discussing the summary, Obama said, “We tortured some folks,” using a word — “torture” — the CIA abhors.


      That’s ridiculous. People may argue over what’s torture and what’s not, but keeping facts secret to cover your backside — which is what’s going on here — is unacceptable.

    • Feinstein winning fight with CIA, Obama over torture report

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator and a longtime hawk on national defense, is leading an epic constitutional struggle against unlikely foes: the CIA and fellow Democrat President Obama. So far, she’s winning.

    • Russia: Independent Journalist Found Dead

      Police should carry out a prompt, impartial, and thorough investigation into the death of an independent journalist in Russia’s North Caucasus, Human Rights Watch said today. Timur Kuashev, a freelance journalist and rights activist, was found dead in the outskirts of Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, on August 1, 2014. His friends and colleagues told Human Rights Watch they strongly believe Kuashev’s death was a murder in retaliation for his activism.

    • Angry Lawyer Sues WordPress Because Someone Set Up A Website Mocking Him

      What’s that saying about a lawyer who represents himself? Yes, well, consider the case of lawyer Jeffrey Wilens, representing himself pro se, in a “trademark” lawsuit filed against Automattic, the company better known for WordPress, the content management system/hosting service that a large percentage of the internet now uses. Wilens appears to have someone who doesn’t like him very much, who set up a bunch of websites using Wilens’ name and the name of his legal practice, Lakeshore Law Center. Wilens is claiming that this is trademark infringement, based on a trademark on his name and the name of his law practice. Even if he were just going after whoever made the page, this would be a massive long shot. As we’ve covered for years, so-called “gripe sites” are not considered trademark infringement. There’s no likelihood of confusion, they’re almost never commercials, and shutting them down would often violate the First Amendment. But Wilens is pointing his legal guns not just at whoever made the site, but also at Automattic for allowing the site to be created and hosting it (he also sued Google, but recently dismissed the company from the case).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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